Pornography is the unacknowledged elephant in the room for the #MeToo movement.
One of the surprising things about the #MeToo movement is how little has been said about pornography. One of the great ironies of a movement created for the safety of women is that one can find very little being discussed about the incredible threat of online porn.
I mentioned this in a social media post some time ago and was promptly chastised by an angry feminist who lectured me that pornography isn’t a problem for feminists because it’s voluntary. The problem with that thinking is twofold:
First, it often isn’t voluntary, as leaders working to prevent sex trafficking will quickly tell you, and second, even when it is voluntary, the impact porn makes on men’s behavior should be a serious threat to anyone concerned about women’s safety.
For instance, here’s the results of a number of studies:
• Over 40 million Americans are regular visitors to porn sites.
• The porn industry’s annual revenue is more than the NFL, NBA, and MLB combined. It’s also more than the combined revenues of ABC, CBS and NBC.
• Forty-seven percent of families report that pornography is a problem in their home.
• Pornography use increases marital infidelity by more than 300 percent.
• Fifty-six percent of divorces involve one party having an “obsessive interest” in porn.
And what about the next generation?
• One in 10 kids under 10 years of age have been exposed to porn.
• It’s a problem for 10 percent of 7th graders.
• Pornography is just 2 clicks away on some of the most popular sites and apps your child may be visiting and using.
Pay close attention to those last few points. Kids today are being exposed at a younger and younger age due to their growing use of computers and mobile devices. And social media may be the gateway drug. Twitter is probably the worst, but Pinterest, Instagram and other social sites have massive amounts of porn, and anyone can search for the most violent and bondage related material simply through a social media search. Huffington Post reports that 80 percent of porn scenes contain some type of physical aggression, and many of those scenes are extremely violent and rape oriented.
So what will happen when a generation of young men who have grown up with this pornography start dating? What happens when they assume that the violent sex they’ve been watching online for years is what women actually want?
The question becomes: Why aren’t we pressuring social media companies to filter pornographic sites and searches? Google and the major social media sites have already started deleting pages they don’t agree with politically, so what could be timelier than filtering porn in an effort to ensure the safety of women? (Not to mention the mental health of young men.)
Perhaps that’s the next step for #MeToo. If so, I say the sooner the better.